Chinese man involved in US hacking is back to teaching computing in Shanghai


Chinese man involved in US hacking is back to teaching computing in Shanghai

As per news reports, this year a Chinese malware broker, Yu Pingan, who was sentenced in United State is now teaching high-school computer courses, including one on internet security. He was sentenced for dealing in malicious software linked to major hacks.


He served sentence for 18 months in a federal detention centre in San Diego, California. He had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer hacking. He was a high school instructor and had been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in August 2017 upon arriving with a group of teachers to observe a US university.


A Reuters reporter found him teaching at his old school in Shanghai last month. The 39 years old was sentenced by a federal judge in February and allowed to return to China. The victims of the hacking conspiracy included microchip supplier Qualcomm Inc, aerospace and defence firm Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Co, and gaming company Riot Games, according to the judgment. Exactly what was stolen in the computer breaches was not disclosed in public court filings.


As per court reports, Yu is a specialist in computer network security and programming. In the conspiracy, the malware that he provided included a rare software tool called Sakula that granted hackers remote control over computers. It’s unclear who wrote the malware or how Yu obtained it.


Sakula is among the most notorious cyberattacks of the decade. In addition to the intrusions detailed in the case against Yu, these include hacks of US health insurer Anthem Inc, where millions of patient records were exposed, and the US Office of Personnel Management, in which the personal information of millions of current and former US government employees and contractors was compromised. Yu was not accused of involvement in those two breaches.


His prosecution was one of a series of criminal cases against Chinese nationals that Washington has brought in recent years, in response to what the Americans say is a concerted campaign by China’s military and security ministry to steal technology from Western companies.


During Yu’s jail time, he was ordered to pay nearly US$1.1 million in restitution to five companies that were victims of the hacking. The fine was to be paid in instalments of US$100 a month, with no interest, according to the judgment. The payment schedule would take more than 900 years to complete.


As per the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, it had “no understanding” of the Yu case. The Ministry opposed any type of cyberattack. The Chinese Ministry also investigated and found no cyberattack occurring inside China or making use of Chinese internet infrastructure.  


Yu, according to court filings by US prosecutors, went by the nickname “Goldsun”. He was accused of conspiring with other Chinese individuals to use malware to hack into the computer networks of companies in the US and elsewhere.


Last month, Reuters found Yu teaching at Shanghai Commercial School, a state-run vocational technical high school in central Shanghai. US officials said that Yu had been teaching there prior to his arrest.

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